Your Monday evening reading, with appearances by Joe Posnanski, MGL and Jeff Zimmerman.
Here is a quick graph of all major league hitters with 300+ plate appearances in 2010. On-Base Percentage (OBP) is on the x-axis, with Isolated Power (ISO) on the y-axis. This covers the two most important aspects of hitting; reaching base successfully and maximizing the number of bases attained each time at the plate. The red square indicates league average (.325 OBP, .145 ISO). Each qualified Pirates hitter is labeled and indicated by a black and gold diamond. A few of the season’s best and worst MLB hitters are also labeled. Enjoy.
A few days ago, Bryan Smith of FanGraphs took a look at identifying which starting pitchers fit which numbered labels. In other words, he tried to classify each pitcher as a #1 starter, a #2 starter, and so on. Let’s see where Pirates starters fit.
As I predicted in July, Neil Walker’s high BABIP eventually fell back to earth. However, a dramatically improved walk rate helped keep him afloat once the hits stopped falling in for him. This bodes well for Walker’s future.
Now that the season is officially over, here is a graph to visually display just how bad the Pirates were this year. The green line is the team WAR for each of the 18 losing seasons. I highlighted approximate replacement level (I used 48.5 wins for this) in blue and the unattainable 81 wins in red. I used the WAR from Baseball-Reference for this, as FanGraphs’ version of WAR only goes back to 2002. As you can see, 2010 was the worst season we have seen during this losing streak.